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'Identity loss' fears limiting uptake of farm partnerships

Drystock farmers are reluctant to enter farm partnerships with dairy farmers because of the fear of being 'taken over' by their partners, according to a new research.

The report, commissioned by the National Rural Network, is due to be published within the next fortnight.

It highlights a series of policy issues that have so far prevented farm partnerships from becoming popular in the drystock sector.

Report author Dr Pat Bogue said one of the reasons cattle farmers were reluctant to enter partnerships with dairy farmers was that they feared losing their own identity in the partnership business.

However, Gerry Gunning, executive secretary of the IFA's rural development committee, said there were a number of other reasons why partnerships had not developed in the drystock sector.

"There are some provisions made for milk production partnerships (MPPs) that are not available to farmers in other types of enterprises," he said.

"For example, two farmers in an MPP can draw down double the individual allowance under the Dairy Equipment Scheme but the same provision is not available to drystock farmers in the sheep fencing grants."

He added that setting up partnerships other than MPPs would also affect Disadvantaged Area Scheme payments and REPS payments to the farmers concerned.

Hopes of increasing the number of non-dairy partnerships were dashed earlier this year when it emerged that additional stock relief allowances announced in the December Budget were limited only to MPPs.

An IFA delegation is due to meet with Department of Agriculture officials in the next week to highlight the discrepancies between MPPs and other farm partnerships.

Indo Farming